FORT LESLEY J. MCNAIR, D.C. -- Service members and civilians with J3, Joint Force Headquarters - National Capital Region and U.S. Army Military District of Washington, hosted a Chili Cook-out, on Fort McNair, Washington, D.C., July 11, 2018.

"The goal for today is to raise money to fund our command's organizational day," said Navy Petty Officer 3rd Class Christopher Pendergraft, an intelligence analyst with JFHQ-NCR/MDW and organizer of the event. "Each directorate with in the command is responsible for hosting a fund raising event in support of our [organizational day], this was what we decided to do."

JFHQ-NCR/MDW Organizational Day, slated for August 10, will bring service members, civilians and their families together to mingle, relax and participate in a variety of wholesome, recreational activities.

For a small undesignated donation, attendees were welcomed to dine on hamburgers, hot dogs and an assortment of snacks, in addition to the wide selection of homemade chilies prepared by members of the command.

"The recipe for my chili is something that I have evolved over the last 15 years now," said Ron Colaninno, assistant inspector general with JFHQ-NCR/MDW. "It is my go to meal every time I have people over to watch the football game and is always a hit."

Many in attendance enjoyed the chili as well as the opportunity to fellowship with other members within the command.

"I didn't get a chance to try all of the chilies, but I really liked the spicy one," said Army Sgt. Carolyn Hernandez, an administrative assistant with JFHQ-NCR/MDW. "The event was very well organized. It is great that we have the opportunity to come together and build morale while supporting a worthwhile cause."

"The food was so good, I have been wanting a good hotdog for so long," said Army Lt. Col. Tammie Crews, deputy command chaplain with JFHQ-NCR/MDW. "It was great to also have the chance to take a moment to relax and enjoy each other's company."

The event was a great success according to Colaninno and Pendergraft.

"Events like this are important, they are a great example of the unity within our command," Colaninno said. "It is just fantastic to see everyone out here enjoying the food we have prepared. Folks have come out from all across the post to support us."

"This was the first time I have ever organized anything like this on my own," Pendergraft said. "The turnout has been great, better than I could have expected. I am new to the command, so it was really great to have support from everyone. Ranks high and low were willing to step in to help make this successful. I definitely couldn't have made this happen on my own. It has been a great way for me to get integrated into the unit."